– 24-month service intervals
Using this magazine, the Swedish Transport Agency would like to inform those affected that the project has extended the service interval for life-rafts with a 12-month service interval to 24 months, on cargo ships and passenger ships certified for shipping area E.
The project was started in January 2001 by the Swedish Maritime Administration’s Swedish Maritime Safety Inspectorate. Under a CI decision there was a plan for how service intervals for life-rafts could be extended from 12 to 24 months for commercial and passenger ships within E areas (inside archipelagos, including ports, rivers, canals and small lakes). One of the reasons for the project was that most of these ships are only active during certain parts of the year in protected waters, and the life-rafts are thus not exposed to the same wear as ships in traffic all year. An attempt to complete the project was made in 2006 when the Swedish Maritime Safety Inspectorate requested details and information from the service stations involved, among other organisations.
Three of the eight service stations approached contacted the Maritime Safety Inspectorate at the end of 2005 and gave their viewpoints on the life-rafts as follows:
- Out of approximately 590 life-rafts inspected in 2004 and 2005, 10-15% were damp or wet. Life-rafts that are wet one year are certainly mouldy the following year.
- That was150 life-rafts, of which 36 (24%) were both wet and mouldy.
- Damp causes rust on gas cylinders, high pressure pipes and so on.
- The function of wet life-rafts is worse when they are frozen.
- There are higher service costs for life-rafts and equipment that have become damp or wet.
- These life-rafts only have valid safety certificates for 12 months from the manufacturers, and the willingness of the Maritime Safety Inspectorate to take responsibility for a further year without their approval is remarkable.
The archipelago shipping companies responded to the Maritime Safety Inspectorate’s request at the same time, saying that they were generally positive to the extended service intervals and have been so up to the present. Their viewpoints and experience were that the project has had a positive outcome in all ways. There were only positive reports from their members, and no information about any damage or wear. After the replies were received in 2005/2006, no conclusion was made and the project has continued.
The project has been run by the Transport Agency since 2009. In May 2014, the Section for maritime inspections in Norrköping once again went out to the service stations asking for experience and viewpoints, but has not received any replies. In 2014, there were about 35 applications for 24-month service intervals from ship-owners.